The BBC's former chief operating officer narrowly missed out to Mr Entwistle and subsequently left the corporation in September when her post was axed. The 58-year-old was a BBC journalism trainee and went on to produce Panorama before leaving to become head of corporate affairs at Channel 4. She returned to the BBC as deputy director of the World Service before eventually rising to the role of chief operating officer in 2006.
The chief executive of the regulator Ofcom was another front-runner who lost out to Mr Entwistle in June. At the time, his critics said it would be a "serious concern" if the BBC were to recruit a head with a political past – he was an adviser in Tony Blair's Labour government. His lack of programme-making experience may also count against him.
The man currently left holding the reins, Mr Davie has no career history in journalism – and that has shocked many BBC staff. The 45-year-old worked in consumer marketing at PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble before arriving as the BBC's head of marketing. He controversially recommended that 6 Music be shut down
The controller of BBC1, Mr Cohen is responsible for the channel's overall direction. From 2007 to 2010 he was controller of BBC3.
Now ITV's director of television, Fincham, 56, may be reluctant to return to the BBC after he was forced out in a row over a trailer for a documentary about the Queen that appeared to show her storming out of a photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz.
The current director of Global News shocked journalists earlier this year by asking them to come up with money-making ideas. A former editor of Newsnight and Panorama, he is one of the corporation's most senior news executives. He was brought in to crisis-manage the BBC's Savile coverage, and oversaw the Panorama programme into Newsnight and child abuse allegations.